The Oakland Athletics and Chicago White Sox are both in second place in their respective divisions, virtually eliminated from playoff contention. The Athletics, though, have played much better over the last month.
After splitting a six-game road trip, Oakland returns home Monday to open a three-game series against Chicago, which will try to avoid a seventh straight loss.
The Athletics (74-74) have a nine-game deficit in the AL West while the White Sox (79-70) are 10 games out in the Central after losing six straight, including a 9-7 loss to Detroit in 11 innings Sunday.
Oakland, meanwhile, has won nine of 15 after taking two of three at Minnesota over the weekend. Mark Ellis(notes) hit a two-run homer and Bobby Cramer(notes) picked up his second major league win in a 6-2 victory Sunday.
“We’re still going out playing like (winning the AL West) is still a possibility,” manager Bob Geren told Oakland’s official website. “We want to win every game we can when we step on the field.”
Geren’s club has been especially good at home, going 20-10 there since July 10. It won two of three in Oakland against the White Sox from July 23-25. The teams have split six meetings overall this season.
Gonzalez suffered his first loss in six starts Tuesday against Kansas City, giving up a season-high seven runs in two innings of an 11-3 defeat.
The left-hander is 8-3 with a 2.70 ERA at home, where he has won his last four decisions. However, he is 0-3 with an 8.82 ERA in three career starts against the White Sox, including a loss Aug. 1 at Chicago in which he allowed four runs but struck out 11 in eight innings of a 4-1 defeat.
The right-hander is 2-5 with a 6.07 ERA and a .347 opponent batting average in his last seven starts. He gave up six runs in 5 1-3 innings of a 9-3 loss to Minnesota on Wednesday.
Floyd also opposed Gonzalez last month, and picked up the win after yielding one run in seven innings to improve to 3-0 with a 1.32 ERA in five career starts against the Athletics.
The White Sox haven’t lost seven in a row since April 28-May 5, 2008. They have hit .179 with runners in scoring position during their current losing streak, including 4 for 24 Sunday when they rallied for four runs in the ninth but fell short in extra innings as they finished a homestand that included sweeps at the hands of Central rivals Minnesota and the Tigers.
“We came in against Minnesota, everything on the line, and they beat us,” catcher A.J. Pierzynski(notes) said. “Then, this series we were playing hard, everyone’s giving what they got, it’s just not working out. That’s the frustrating part.”